It’s not hard for wild animals to camouflage themselves in the wilderness, as these parts of the world are created to mask certain creatures from predators or in some cases it gives other creatures the ability to lurk and sneak up on their prey.
The wilderness is a blend of bland colors made out of the rock, grassy areas and brown mountainsides that serve as a perfect backdrop for the many animals that live in it. It’s not always easy to see the wild animals up against the backdrop, which is why even humans have a hard time finding them when they have a photo planted in front of them.
Can you see the hidden animal in the image below?
Believe it or not, there is a Snow Leopard lurking amongst the rocky foothill in this photo that was taken in Ladakh, India by Wildlife photographer, Inger Van Dyke. Van Dyke managed to see the Snow Leopard as it was doing what it does naturally, stalking its prey, which in this case is a heard of blue sheep.
The male leopard can be seen in a crouched position nearly hidden behind rocks and shrubbery. The sheep are apparently oblivious to the predator who is barely visible from its position.
While at first glance it seems like the prey doesn’t notice that the leopard is in the vicinity, Van Dyke’s other photos show them taking off quickly as the leopard makes his first move.
While it’s hard to estimate their population due to their high-altitude existence, there have been 500 Snow Leopards reported living in India, according to the World Wild Fund for Nature-India (WWF).
It’s not surprising that it is difficult to keep track of the rare creatures as they tend to hunt in steep, rugged terrains that have rocky outcrops and ravines. This makes it easy for them to hide out and stalk their prey, and of course, conceals them from humans trying to track their existence. As with all animals, their habitat is essential to their survival, which is why these terrains allow Snow Leopards to have decent coverage and a clear view giving them the benefit of being able to sneak up on their prey.
They are usually found at very high elevations which are usually between 3,000 and 5,000 meters in the Himalayas. Sometimes these elevations are even higher.
These beautiful creatures are usually spotted in the states of Kashmir and Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern region of the Himalayas. The last three locations are a global region prioritized by the WWF and the Living Himalayas Network Initiative.
The Government of India has identified the snow leopard as a flagship species for the high altitude Himalayas and has developed a centrally-supported programme called Project Snow Leopard for the conservation of the species and its habitats.
This photo is a perfect example of wild animals in their element. Van Dyke managed to capture the leopard and its prey in the middle of something that may be a rare sighting to us but is an everyday thing for these wild animals.